Is this legal? Furious right now!!!

Nurses General Nursing


The hospital I work at recently gave everyone in the hospital a raise. When I opened my pay slip today, I was surprised to see that I was getting a raise from $13.36 to 13.65. I've been making $13.76 for over a year! I called the error to the attention of the payroll department and was told that I should have only been making the $13.36. They also told me that I will have to pay back the extra 40¢ an hour they've been giving me. I have a copy of my last raise slip that says I was to get a raise from $11.76 to $13.76...$2.00 was the average amount of the last raise they gave...

So now, instead of a raise, I am technically taking a CUT in pay and they are going to take $16 a week out of my checks for the next 18 months!

I am mad enough to quit right now...sigh...

Can they do that? I have proof that I was supposed to me making the $13.76...I would have questioned it 18 months ago if I'd thought there was an error!


322 Posts

Sorry to hear that. I would be furious, too, and start looking for a job else where.

Hope you get it all straightened out.

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

I'd be on the phone with a lawyer right about now.


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

What does your union have to say about this? Don't have one? Maybe it's time to start one.

Paying an attorney would not be worth the relatively small amount of money you could recover. I'd check with your state board of labor and see what your rights are and what to do next.


185 Posts

I think maybe all you would really need is to pay a lawyer to write a letter stating that you have proof of pay promised and that you are willing to legally pursue the situation.(Even if you aren't) Usually getting a letter from a lawyer will take care of it. Will you have to pay the lawyer---yes, but it is the price to be paid for making your point, standing your ground and making them eat their words. If I had a choice between having my pay unfairly docked for 18 months or using the same money to pay a lawyer, I would use the money to pay the lawyer. Good luck.


347 Posts

I would be in touch with your state labor and relations board. If you quit now they will take you whole check.

Nurse Ratched, RN

2,149 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health.
Originally posted by ptnurse

If I had a choice between having my pay unfairly docked for 18 months or using the same money to pay a lawyer, I would use the money to pay the lawyer.

A-freakin'-men to that. Assuming the absence of a union, chase it up the chain of command as far as you can by yourself, and if you keep getting the runaround despite have proof positive in hand, I personally would get that letter written from a lawyer.

The absolute gall of some pencil pushers will never cease to amaze me.

Edited to add: since you aren't getting satisfaction from payroll, try HR. I'm sure someone there has enough knowledge of labor law to know this is a battle they don't want to fight.

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

Find a local media reporter and sing like a bird.

Especially if the hospital is notorious about griping about the difficulty getting nurses.


363 Posts

Call your Hospital Supervisory Nurse, the CEO, and arrange meetings with them. Let them know your concerns in a cordial manner. Give them the bit of being a loyal employee and all that. Write them all letters before that expressing your concerns. If that doesn't work, have a lawyer write letters. If that doesn't work, cash in your PTO time, and work some place else. It sounds as if you could be easily paid more somewhere else anyway.

Good Luck!


693 Posts

I agree that somone in HR should be able to straighten it out. Sounds like a payroll department clerical error to me.

You have verification that you were indeed supposed to be making $13.76/hr., so arm yourself with a copies of both prior and recent raise slips (not the originals!), and write a polite and factual note to the head of HR explaining the problem, with cc to the head of the payroll department, asking for help in "resolving the problem". Present the letters in person if possible, at least to HR. Then be persistent -- follow up with a phone call in a few days, and then in another week if nothing has been resolved. If they say they can't help, ask them who can.

I would be upset, too. But my guess is that it's just somone's honest mistake, so don't lose your cool yet. And don't go to the labor board or hire a lawyer unless you get no results from attempts to resolve it amicably.

I would also suggest that you resolve the problem before you leave the facility in a fit of fury. If it is on their records that you left while you owed them money (even if their records are wrong), they can pursue collection as if it were a debt. They might also say you are not eligible for rehire, which would not look good on your record.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,538 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I hope it's a mistake on their part. Takes nerve to dock someone's pay like that.

I've put up with quite a bit in my 11 years at this hospital. One thing I would not put up with is busting my butt to have my pay docked. I would tell them, to pay me the money I've been getting paid, pay me the raise everyone else got, or I would quit, even take a lower rate of pay somewhere else (although I would probably get as much somewhere else).

Lawyer or not, making a point or not, legal or not (and it probably is legal or they wouldn't be stupid enough to do it), that's not an organization I would work for.

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.


46 Posts

I don't believe a meeting is necessary this point. When you have a complaint with any company or organization ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS direct a letter (no email) to the president or CEO of the organization. Don't even think of bothering with customer service or any other department within that organization. Mark your letter as "Personal & Confidential" on both the front and back of the envelope. You'll go around in circles trying to resolve a complaint from the "bottom up" in any organization. Instead you want to work from the top down. The President or CEO may not handle your complaint directly but he/she will have read it and passed it down the chain of command with recommendations for resolvement. Mention in the letter you will contacting not "a lawyer" but "YOUR lawyer" if the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction. The last sentence of your letter should state the date by when you expect a reply, two weeks is minimum. If your problem is not resolved, then do contact "your" lawyer. You may also want to write directly to the head(s) of the state regulatory authorities with personal and confidential letters as well. This is what has worked for me numerous times through the years, it should work for you as well.

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